I am finding it really important that my daughter takes part in sport. Sport is a way to keep her fit and healthy but also to make a good use of her hyperactivity . There are plenty of sports that your child could do depending on his abilities. Some of our children can take part in collective sports such as Football or cricket and be even part of teams with non-autistics children. There are also individual sports such as cycling.You can find some information through the Local Authority, play schemes, support groups or by visiting the webpage of the English Federation of Disability Sport*
I would like to give you an insight of 3 different sports or physical activities that my daughter is practising as well as their benefits on children with Autism. Just a small reminder, every child is unique, your child may not like below activities. Do not insist if he is not enjoying it.
NUMBER ONE: HORSE RIDING
Horse riding is expensive but inshAllah there might be a scheme running within your borough that offers horse riding to SEN children. I am not rich so I can’t afford to pay for horse riding lessons but if Allah has blessed you with some wealth, please go for it and give it atry. My daughter is having horse riding weekly with her school Alhamdulillah. I would never have thought that my daughter will be so good at it. MashAllah she is riding on her own and just following the instructions. Nobody is holding the horse for her. My daughter is 6 and I had the opportunity to ride a horse when I was 13 and I was craaaaaap. One day, I would love to be a good rider and feel the wind blowing up my hijaab. LOL. Let’s be serious for a moment. Riding a horse is not only a physical experience. It also builds up a strong bond between the animal and its rider. Horses are companions-like.Thus, it is the perfect mean for your child to work on his social skills and to concentrate on an external stimuli within a relaxing atmosphere.Your child will have to communicate verbally and physically with hismount and will witness an instantaneous reaction. Your child will also have to interact with the instructors who will be holding the horse or walking beside it.
To sum up, your child will:
@ make a new special friend and talk to it.
@ leave his bubble and take interest in the outside world.
@ concentrate and follow simple instructions.
@ guide an animal.
@ keep fit.
@ look Fab and chic . That might be the beginning of a Top model career…just kidding! But still, such a good deal!
NUMBER TWO: SWIMMING
Swimming is cool, swimming is cheap! Isn’t it true? At my next door swimming pool, there are weekly swimming sessions for disabled children MashAllah. Unfortunately, it is mixed so I can’t go there with my daughter. But the good news is that as she is quite manageable, I can go with her to another local swimming pool where there are women only sessions. Hurray! If it is the same for you, test it! But I have to be honest with you guys, I only go there during Spring and Summer time. For the rest of the year and every week, it is the school’s job and she is loving it!
Who does not like water? You stayed 9 months and for some even more floating inside your mother’s womb. Swimming is fun, it is physical and it relaxes your body. For children with autism, it improves their motor skills, coordination, their body awareness and balance. However, from your end, you need to be extra vigilant. Some children can switch and within seconds endanger their life.
*English Federation of Disability Sport: http://www.efds.co.uk